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between William and Michael is very well documented in the contrast-
ing sources of the Chronicle of the Morea (Greek Chronicle “); and
Pachymeres™ Michael Palaiologos (Michael ±.“±µ.µ). Both sources agree
that William ¬nally agreed to surrender the castles of Maina, Mistra and
Monemvasia to the Byzantine Romans, although Pachymeres adds Geraki
and the area around Ginsterna to the territorial concessions: Ginsterna
and Geraki were within the triangle demarcated by Mistra, Monemvasia
and Maine and were consequently very swiftly brought under Byzantine
Roman domination, which perhaps explains Pachymeres™ assertion. The
historian also says that the prince became a vassal of the Greek emperor
with the title of Grand Domestic, and this is con¬rmed by the ¬fteenth-
century Petition by the Metropolitan of Monemvasia; the Chronicle merely
speaks of agreements and a treaty of mutual defence.± As we shall see,
though, the Chronicle of the Morea is more explicit than Pachymeres about
Byzantine Roman claims to the Peloponnese, where the renewed Roman
presence soon led to tensions and open war.
Although the Byzantine Romans had formally received just three castles,
this effectively permitted them to control the south-east quadrant of the
Peloponnese. Monemvasia was the most important gain. This city, built
on a rocky peninsula joined to the mainland only by a narrow causeway,
had been in Frankish hands for a mere decade or so. It had a long record

± ±
Istoria del Regno di Romania, Hopf ±·: ±°±. Bon ±: ±“; Wagstaff ±±: ±µ.
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
of independence; examination of the privileges granted to the city by
Constantinople reveals that Monemvasia was accustomed to autonomy
and had enjoyed numerous exemptions from taxation under Byzantine
rule before ±°.± These privileges were con¬rmed by William II when he
took the city (Greek Chronicle “°), such tendency against innovation
in their dealings with the local population being, as we shall see, typical
of the Franks in the Peloponnese. With its near-impregnable position and
thriving port, Monemvasia was the door into the Peloponnese, providing a
route into the rich Lakonian plain around the river Evrotas. Commanding
this plain from the west, nestled in the foothills of the Taygetos and close
to the Langadha pass over the mountains to the west, there was Mistra,
which was to emerge as the Byzantine Roman capital in the Peloponnese.
To the south-west, somewhere in the Mani peninsula, was Grand Maine.±µ
The Byzantine Romans swiftly took advantage of these three key points
to dominate the land they demarcated to the east, north-west and south,
and from that point on there was intermittent war between the Byzantine
Romans of Mistra and the principality.
Prince William turned for help in this struggle against Constantinople
and Mistra to Charles I of Anjou, who had acceded to the throne of Naples
and Sicily in ±µ, and was an ambitious and determined opponent of
Michael VIII Palaiologos. At a series of agreements at Viterbo in ±·,
Charles established himself as the leading advocate of Latin rights in the
Aegean region. The ousted Latin emperor Baldwin II ceded to Charles his
sovereignty over mainland Greece and the Aegean (a few islands excepted)
and thus the Angevin became feudal overlord of William and of the prin-
cipality.± More directly, William effectively willed the principality to the
Angevins. He had at that time no sons, and so it was agreed that his daugh-
ter Isabeau would marry Charles™ eldest son Philip, and that on William™s
death Philip would succeed him as prince. Even if William™s princess Anna,
pregnant at the time of the treaty, were to bear him a son, under the terms
of the agreement this son would inherit only a ¬fth of the principality
as an Angevin vassal. Such massive concessions must serve as evidence of
the pressure now exerted on the principality by the renascent Byzantine

± Kalligas ±°: ·“, ±°“µ; Magdalino ±b: ±“.
±µ Grand Maine has been most convincingly, but not conclusively, situated on the site of the surviving
Turkish castle of Kelepha; see Wagstaff ±±; also Burridge ±: ±“.
± Dunbabin ±: ±. ±· Perrat and Longnon ±·: °·“±±; Setton ±·: “.
± Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
On William™s death in ±·, then, the principality passed under direct
Angevin rule under the terms of the treaty of Viterbo. For the next century,
it was administered at second hand via bailis, or governors, save for the
period ±“±° when William™s daughter Isabeau reigned in the Pelopon-
nese along with her successive husbands Florent of Hainault and Philip
of Savoy. For this decade and a half the principality enjoyed the presence
of a ruling prince. Soon after his arrival in ±, Prince Florent signed
a seven-year truce with Andronikos II Palaiologos, and the two came to
an agreement on their respective rights in the Peloponnese, whereby the
Franks of the principality and the Romans of the emperor (based at Mis-
tra) would share the revenues from certain lands, the casaux de parcon.±
Although the truce ended in ±, the system of casaux de parcon persisted
well into the fourteenth century.

The Greek Chronicle of the Morea and the Villehardouin policy
of compromise
The Chronicle of the Morea had its origins in the Angevin principality of the
fourteenth century, but tells the story of, and looks back with considerable
nostalgia to, the days of greater prosperity under the Villehardouin princes.
Speaking of the ¬rst period of absentee Angevin rule in the late ±·°s
and ±°s, before the return of Isabeau de Villehardouin with Florent de
Hainault, the Greek Chronicle bemoans the state of the Peloponnese:

the lieutenants whom he [Charles II of Anjou] sends there are hired men and they
are always out for themselves. The land is being drained away, it is being lost, it is
in danger; the king has the expense and others pro¬t (Greek Chronicle µµ“)

and again

you send lieutenants and hired men to the Morea and they tyrannise the poor,
they wrong the rich, they ¬ght for their pro¬t and the land is being wasted. (Greek
Chronicle µµ“)

These comments should be understood as fourteenth-century Moreot
re¬‚ections on the reality of their own times, a reality which contrasted
unfavourably with the earlier happier times under the Villehardouins.
This, it has convincingly been argued, is the context for the creation of the
Chronicle itself, as at least in part a mirror and critique of Angevin rule.±

± ±
Jacoby ±: ±±±“µ. Furon °°: ±“µ.
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
It was, however, more than a matter of lost prosperity or anti-Angevin
spin. The picture presented by the Greek Chronicle is one of considerable
inter-ethnic cooperation in the thirteenth century, and this is a depiction
which can be supported by a range of other evidence. The Villehardouin
princes can be shown to have pursued a policy of accommodation and com-
promise with their Roman subjects, and the Peloponnese clearly prospered
under their rule.

On the initial arrival of Geoffrey de Villehardouin in the summer of
±°, the response to the incoming westerners had been mixed: the elder
Chamaretos had thought he could work with Villehardouin, while his
son had mistrusted the Frank. The elder Villehardouin tells us that under
the heir™s prompting ˜most of the castles in which Geoffrey had placed a
garrison turned against him™ (Villehardouin ±±): the local soldiery thus
chose not to serve under the westerner, though for what reasons we cannot
tell. Although the Greek Chronicle does not deal with this early history (it is
indeed hopelessly confused about the various Geoffreys de Villehardouin in
its account), it does tell of ˜a certain one of the Voutsarades, Doxapatres they
called him™ (±·“), who held out against Villehardouin and Champlitte
for a limited time in central Arkadia, and the south-east of the Peloponnese
maintained effective resistance for some forty years. The most prominent
resister, and the one of whom most is known, was Leon Sgouros, who
held out on the Akrocorinth for several years; given Sgouros™ record of
opposition to Byzantine Roman rule, it is doubtful in this case whether
any great patriotism was behind his de¬ance to the Latins, although it
is possible that he and other resisters were honoured as despots by the
ex-emperor Alexios III Angelos to reward or encourage their resistance to
the incomers.° However, just as Boniface of Montferrat had found in his
march south through Greece, in most areas Villehardouin and Champlitte
met with very minimal resistance. The brief account provided by the elder
Villehardouin suggests that the military prowess of the Franks scared many
Greeks into submission (Villehardouin ±±), and the Greek Chronicle also
suggests that a show of force was helpful in encouraging friendly relations
(Chronicle ±“).
More interestingly, however, the Greek Chronicle implies that Ville-
hardouin sought to cultivate local Romans by including them in the
Frankish system of control he was busy putting in place. Geoffrey is

° Magdalino ±··: °“.
± Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
shown persuading local Romans to be realistic about the Frankish con-
quest (Chronicle ±±±ff.); such local Romans advised on military strategy
(°), and it was thanks to Romans working with the Frankish army that
their fellow Romans of Amykli surrendered (°±“). The Greek Chronicle
also suggests that Geoffrey and Guillaume had Roman councillors: e²pan
o¬ <Rwma±oi, o¬ pr¤toi t¦v boul¦v tou (˜the Romans said, the leaders of
his council, that . . . ™) (±·µ±). Though not unambiguous, this is indicative
of organised Roman involvement in policy at a high level, implying insti-
tutional involvement of local Romans in the government of the Frankish
principality. The evidence of the Greek Chronicle thus suggests that Geof-
frey de Villehardouin pursued a policy of conciliation with the Romans
of the Peloponnese, taking their advice and utilising their contacts and
language skills.
The Franks were further ready to make concessions to win a positive
attitude from their new subjects. In a passage reminiscent of the plea for
religious freedom from the Romans of Constantinople to the Latin emperor
Henry, as given in Akropolites (History °.µ, see above, pp. ±°“·), we are
told that the ˜archontes, the leaders of the Morea™, struck a bargain with
Villehardouin, whereby the Romans™ way of life, including the Orthodox
faith, is assured continuity in return for loyalty to their new masters:
if our lord wishes . . . that we, the race of the Romans, will die your slaves, this
we ask, we say, and that you will swear on it and put it in writing, so that we and
our children may have it “ from now and henceforth, a Frank may not force us
to change our faith for the faith of the Franks, nor our customs, the law of the
Romans. (Greek Chronicle °“µ)

As we shall see below, there is a substantial body of evidence con¬rming
the Frankish policy of conciliation and concession implied here.
The Greek Chronicle, then, is strongly suggestive of a deliberate policy
on the part of the incomers to involve the locals and coopt them into
collaboration with the new regime. Some Peloponnesian Romans did,
however, ¬‚ee the region on the Frankish conquest: there is the suggestion
of substantial migration into Epiros in the early years. Most if not all of
these exiles seem to have been wealthy local aristocrats “ Theodore Doukas
of Epiros, as recorded by Demetrios Chomatianos, says that ˜there™s a huge
number of people from the Peloponnese at my court, and all the wealthy
and high ranking™, and one can only hypothesise as to the reasons for
this ¬‚ight.± The wealthy families suggested by this were precisely those

± Pitra ±± vi: cols. “. Nicol ±·: “.
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
who would have been targeted by the land-hungry Franks, while poorer
Romans could have suffered less in the way of direct attack. Perhaps these
were also people who had family relationships with the new rulers in
Epiros and even estates in that region. Michael Doukas of Epiros had been
imperial governor of the Peloponnese in ±° and had no doubt cultivated
a working relationship with the local nobility; he may also have involved
himself in the early resistance to the Franks in the Peloponnese, such as it
was, since Geoffrey de Villehardouin speaks of a ˜Michael™ who organised
resistance to the Franks in the Peloponnese, and it has been supposed
that this was Michael Doukas of Epiros. However, it seems unlikely that
Michael would have left Epiros at this early stage, and Michael Chamaretos,
the brother of Leon who may have been the lord who befriended Geoffrey
de Villehardouin, has also been proposed. Returning to the reasons for
any exodus to Epiros in the aftermath of the conquest, it is possible that
the more pragmatic attitude of compromise on the part of the Franks
may not have been immediate: indeed, the wording of the agreement in
the Greek Chronicle suggests that a harsher approach may at ¬rst have
been pursued. Such an eventual relaxation of policy would be in line
with secular practice in other Frankish states in the region, and compares
with the Latin emperor Henry™s relaxation of religious policy towards his
Orthodox subjects, discussed in relation to Akropolites.
One of the refugees to Epiros was a certain John Chamaretos, who
may potentially be identi¬ed with the anti-Frankish son of the pro-Roman
Leon. The records of Demetrios Chomatianos, bishop in Epiros, tell how
Chamaretos, who had held out against the Frankish conquest, had then
been forced to ¬‚ee from the Peloponnese after an unhappy marriage to
the daughter of a pro-Frankish archon named Daimonoiannis had resulted
in his attempted murder and kidnap; reaching Epiros he consequently
sued for divorce. This story reveals that, however many Romans may
have ¬‚ed to Epiros, nevertheless some Romans like Chamaretos™ enemy
Daimonoiannis came to terms with the incomers and consequently kept
their lands together with a measure of in¬‚uence.
According to the Greek Chronicle there was equal Frank and Roman
representation on the land commission set up to register landownership
and distribute lands within the principality (±, ±“), although the
French Chronicle suggests that there was a majority of Franks (French

 Bon ±: µ“; Magdalino ±··: ±.
 Cf. also the contrast between religious and secular policy on Frankish Cyprus: Coureas ±·: °“µ.
 Magdalino ±··; Kalligas ±°.
±° Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
Chronicle ±°). Such an arrangement with Greeks at least playing a signif-
icant part obviously made good practical sense: only the Romans would
have had the language skills for thorough investigations and, as we shall
see, throughout the history of the principality Romans continued to be
employed in signi¬cant administrative positions. While allowing many
local Roman archontes (landowning provincial nobility) to remain in pos-
session of their property, the Franks were still able to distribute plenty of
lands among themselves from imperially owned land, church property and
the property of those magnates who had ¬‚ed. The Chronicle of the Morea
details the various ¬efs allotted to the various ranks as well as to the church
and to the military orders, re¬‚ecting a register that must itself date from the
second generation of the conquest but re¬‚ects the earlier apportionment.
The approach of the Franks in the Peloponnese is in contrast to that of the
Venetians in Crete during the same period. Here, the incoming Venetians
had con¬scated all land for redistribution to their followers, prompting
sustained resistance from the local archon class, who needed and attracted
peasant support in this struggle to recover their land over the course of the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The effort bore ¬rst fruit in the ±µ°s,
when some ethnic Romans were given land and the privileges of Venetians
in return for the usual feudal obligations; such Romans typically went on
to become loyal subjects of the Republic.µ In contrast, the Franks in the
Peloponnese interfered little with existing land tenure and consequently
had comparatively few problems with the local landowning class.

˜Our customs™
What practical alteration did this process of conquest and appropriation
make in the lives of the Romans of the Peloponnese? As we have seen,
for some it meant a complete break as they left the region to make their
lives elsewhere. For men like Leon Sgouros too, who resented any superior
authority, the arrival of the Franks meant the end of a way of life. For the
others who stayed, we may distinguish between the archon class and their
social inferiors, between the powerful and the poor.


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